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2011 | OSCE Report: Delivering Justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina: An Overview of War-Crimes Processing from 2005-2010

This report documents findings from trials of individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes monitored by the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, at both the state and entity level, between 2005 and 2010. It considers the extent to which the framework for war crimes processing has served to bolster the delivery of justice in war crimes cases and the overall efficiency of the criminal justice system in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The report examines the progress of implementation of the National Strategy for War Crimes Processing (see our Bosnia Project >Legal Instruments page) some two years after its adoption.

 Overall, the state level institutions have delivered efficient, fair, and human rights compliant proceedings. However the report identifies numerous problems preventing the effective and efficient resolution of the outstanding backlog of war crimes cases in the BiH criminal justice system. These include low public confidence in the judiciary; political opposition from certain quarters to an integrated and cohesive judicial system able to tackle serious crime; a fragmented legal and institutional framework within which disparate legal provisions may apply to the same crimes; poor investment in human and technical resources; lack of availability of suspects, physical evidence, and witnesses willing to testify and a caseload of unknown size and scope, scattered between prosecutor’s offices around the country. This last is due to inadequately defined procedures for reporting and transferring cases between the different levels.

 The Report concludes with 20 recommendations addressed to Entity and State level actors as well as to the international community.